Francis Thompson is widely acknowledged as a poet whose poems and literally works were a clear depiction of a world full of splendor, a universe parallel to the one we know. His most acclaimed poem is the ‘Hound of Heaven’, which saw his writings become appreciated by, masses prior to his death. His works portrayed a mix of the mystic, and natural. Some people claimed that he was fixated on dying, as he wrote about pagan and witch sacrifices. Modern scholars associate this with his opium addiction.
Francis Thompson was born of parents who had a strong religious background as Catholics in the year 1859 (Chilton par. 1). Francis contracted a chest infection that saw him take opium medicinally as a painkiller. Francis later became addicted to taking the drug leisurely, an addiction that almost saw him waste his life away. Francis Thompson had been brought up in the Catholic Church, and as he grew up, he enrolled at the Ushaw college to train as a priest. His efforts at becoming a priest were futile, and he decided to assume the role of his father and try medicine (Chilton par 1).
He was admitted at the Owens College, and sat for the final tests severally to qualify as a surgeon. Francis, however, failed each time ad in the long-run gave this up. He then travelled to London, at an attempt to find a job. He could not hold down a job for very long, this can be attributed to his opium addiction. He was at one time, a shoemaker and then for lack of a source of livelihood, sold matchboxes and partook in other menial jobs. For the better part of 1886 up to 1888, he was homeless and sometimes begged for food on the streets of London.
It was during this time when he was a destitute that he sent his work to a newspaper, which published his poems. The editors took to his work almost immediately, got him off the streets and into a rehabilitation center. While in the center, he wrote several poems that saw him kick start his career (Chilton par. 2). ‘The Hound of Heaven’ was the poem that took his career to its highest peak. It was produced at a later time in his life and saw him get world acknowledgement (Chilton par. 4). Other writers also wrote about his works citing him as a writer who was not of his time and age. He then went on to die at the age of 48, in 1907 from what was termed as tuberculosis.
Mysticism in Francis Thompsons Poetry
Francis Thompson is largely known for his use of religious mysticism in his poetry works. According to O’Connell, Francis Thompson’s allegory of the religious and his mysticism can be attributed to his prior upbringing (8). Francis had been brought up by a convert family whose religion was Catholicism. His first calling was to become a priest and he made an attempt at it by going to college in Ushaw. His cousins were said to attribute this religion-loving aspect of him as an inheritance from his father whose passion also lay in religion (O’Connell 8).
He spent up to seven years in the seminary at Ushaw before...